These days, people use social media for everything. Sure, a lot of your news feed is probably filled with your former neighbor's new baby, addicting recipe videos, fake news, and political debates. But social media can prove to be valuable and is here to stay – so why not use it to your advantage? Consumers and businesses are using social media to find new products and services, check out other businesses' ratings, schedule appointments, and share ideas. Communities use social media to come together over important issues or raise awareness for great causes. Companies even use social media to brainstorm, engage employees, and communicate. Our research has indicated that the use of corporate social networking signals lower turnover.
Your social media presence is a window into your company culture, values, and goals.
While I'm NOT suggesting that you should use social media to screen candidates, we can't deny that candidates are using social media to find and screen you. It's obvious that they're looking to LinkedIn to check out your company and look for openings, but they're also checking you out on other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and maybe even looking for you on Instagram. Your social media presence is a window into your company culture, mission, values, and goals. It's a peek at the day-to-day of existing employees. It's another outlet to post about your job openings and spread the word about how great it is to work for you. Of course, there are some warnings and disclaimers that come along with using social media in this manner, like staying legally defensible and NOT using social media to make hiring decisions.
In a time where the labor market is tight and many job seekers are of Millennial or Gen Z age, your social media presence has a big impact on who is applying to your jobs and how many people are even seeing your job postings in the first place -- but many employers don't use social media tools to their fullest to help accomplish their hiring goals. Here are some tips (and best practices) to embrace social media and use it to your advantage to attract the right candidates for your organization.
1. Brand your profiles and fill them out completely
This might be a no-brainer, but having professional profiles that represent your brand is essential to attracting candidates, especially younger generations. They're using social media to check out almost everything they do before they do it, so they've seen the best of the best. Represent your company by using your logo as your main account photo, and a consistent, visually appealing photo (or video!) for the "header photo." Consistently branding each of your profiles helps candidates find you and ties together your employer brand across social media channels.
Try not to leave any sections of your profiles blank – the more information candidates can see up front, the more they'll be attracted to your company and want to apply. More importantly, by completing each section of your profile, you're optimizing your profile for search engines, making it easier for candidates to find you when they're searching for jobs similar to yours. Include a few keywords related to what your company does and the types of roles your looking for, and phrase them in the way that job searchers would be phrasing them when searching.
Here's a cheat sheet to the image dimensions for each platform. Canva is a great free tool to create a branded image for your header or profile photo.
2. Include photos and videos of your culture.
Give them an idea of what it would be like to work for you. Having an offsite meeting? Event in the office? Working on a really cool project with a new client? Post photos and videos about it! This will help candidates picture what their life would be like working for you and what types of projects and culture they can expect.
This is similar to a more formal approach that we take to give employees a glimpse into the job they're applying to. We help clients create Realistic Job Previews (RJPs) as part of the hiring process. An RJP simply refers to sharing an honest picture of the job with an applicant – it’s about selling the benefits of the organization, sharing the positives about the position, AND discussing the challenges or difficulties one might face on the job.
Using realistic job previews and/or social media to showcase the type of culture and job details candidates can expect can also help to increase culture fit, employee satisfaction once they're in the role, and reduce turnover.
3. Get your employees on board.
Build your employer brand by asking your employees to list your company as their employer, and share your job openings on their networks. This is especially good for LinkedIn. Job searchers can peruse current employee lists to see who they might be working with and if they have any connections with your current employees. This also gives your company some credibility. All of these professional, experienced employees represent your company – show them off!
Warning: Do make sure you have clear social media guidelines so your employees know to keep their posts appropriate and professional since your company's name is attached to their profile. This article outlines some tips for creating a social media policy.
4. Post your job openings on social media
As of 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day. You can simply post a link to your opening on your careers page, create a custom tab on for Jobs on Facebook, or create a hashtag that you'll use for any job postings. If you're trying to get your job postings noticed, this is a pretty easy way to almost guarantee you'll get that posting in front of thousands of eyes.
In fact, candidates who find your job postings on social media might turn out to (in some ways) be better employees than those who don't use social media at all. Check out this study: What Do Employee Assessments Have to Do With Social Media?
5. Take advantage of Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Periscope
Using these forms of live video streaming, you can do impromptu interviews with leaders at your organization or employees working in similar roles to the ones you're posting. Host live Q&As where job seekers can type in questions and you can answer them live on social media. You'll meet applicants this way and you'll gain a better idea of the things they're curious about. This can help to attract candidates if you showcase the great things about your company, and allowing questions and answers helps to narrow your applicants to people who are really interested. This might even make the hiring process a little more efficient once they do apply.
Using social media to find and attract candidates has some great benefits. You can reach the passive candidate and increase chances that you'll hire employees with great culture fit while also cutting down on the time and money spent on recruiting. Incorporating these tips into your recruiting strategy in a way that best suits your organization can help to accomplish your team's goals and continue to build a great workforce.